Pass the drive test
Chris Rutter explains all you need to know in order to choose the right drive mode
Discover the drive modes available on your Nikon, and when to use each one
There are three standard drive modes available on most Nikon cameras: single, continuous and self-timer. They control how many shots the camera will take when you press the shutter release button. (See below for more on each of these.)
Although you can, in theory, shoot at very high speed in continuous mode, a couple of things can affect the frame rate of your camera. The first is the shutter speed: to achieve the maximum frame rate you will need to use a fast shutter speed, such as 1/250 sec or faster. At slower shutter speeds the frame rate will be reduced. The second limitation comes when you are shooting at the highest resolution and quality settings, as the number of shots that you can shoot in a sequence may be limited by the ability of the camera to process the images and write the data to your memory card. This limitation is even more noticeable if you shoot in RAW.
On many Nikons you can choose between a high-speed continuous (C-H), which shoots at the maximum frame rate available, and a lower frame rate (C-L) option. This is useful if you need the convenience of the continuous drive mode, but don’t need to use the fastest frame rates.
Other drive mode options
Along with the three main drive mode settings, some Nikons have remote, quiet and mirror lock-up options.
If there is a dedicated wireless remote release available for your camera you will need to select remote to allow you to fire the camera with it.
The action of the mirror moving and the shutter opening and closing means that taking pictures can be fairly noisy, and noticeable if you are taking shots in a quiet environment, or of a subject such as an animal that could be disturbed by the noise. Many recent Nikons have a quiet mode to reduce this noise. While it can make the camera quieter, it does mean that there is a slight delay between shots.
Mirror lock-up is only available on more expensive models, and is a way of reducing so-called ‘mirror slap’ when shooting long exposures on a tripod. You press the release button once to lift the mirror, and again to take your shot.